Washington will not alter its aggressive policy toward Syria in order to secure the release of detained Americans by the Assad regime, the top US diplomat said Wednesday.
A recent trip to the US by Lebanon’s top intelligence official was used to discuss US citizens being held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
During the Lebanese official’s visit to Washington, where families of previously detained US citizens thanked him for his efforts to secure their release, it was leaked that the White House dispatched an official to Syria earlier this year to discuss the US hostages.
Two of the detainees are journalist and former Marine Austin Tice, kidnapped in 2012 and Majd Kamalmaz, a Syrian-American therapist who disappeared after being stopped at a Syrian government checkpoint in 2017.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Syria to release Tice or give information on his fate.
“We’ll continue to work for the return not only of Austin, but for every American that’s held. We’re not going to change American policy to do that,” Pompeo said during a news conference.
The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump and the top White House counterterrorism official, had flown to Damascus earlier this year. His efforts were centered around striking a deal for Tice and Kamalmaz to be released.
- with Reuters